3/26/14 we welcomed a litter of 12 babies from Lilly and TJ. As of this morning 9 had some milk in their bellies so we are hoping that's a good sign moms milk has come in or is coming in. Her last litter we sadly lost 9 of the ten due to her milk not coming in.
First and foremost, you should always pick a feed and stick with it. The constant change is hard on their guts. If your rabbits are doing well on something don't switch because something is cheaper. If you are going to switch, switch because it is a better feed or because you can't get the other one anymore.
Fiber is an extremely important factor. Anything below 18 is really too low. Rabbits can do fine on lower but for the larger breeds many think they do better on the higher. Fat is also important. A minimum of 2.5- 3 is better.
Protein is another extremely important piece of the nutrition puzzle. A giant breed such as the French Lop should be on an 18% protein blend. In some areas this can be hard to find in a quality feed but for their development and overall health of your giant breed rabbit.
I personally struggled with finding a feed that worked best for my rabbits. It was a nightmare for a while. My two French lops started losing weight and there was nothing I could do to fix it. They were eating fine, getting treats and exercise and still, dropping weight and deteriorating. I found out that they needed a feed with 18% protein in it and most feeds only contain 15-16%. I was feeding a feed with 15% and it just wasn't enough even with treats and fresh veggies daily. Once I started learning more about it from experienced breeders they turned a major corner and started gaining their weight back and becoming my healthy and happy rabbits they were before. Most people are unaware that not all feed is equal for each breed. Their size, activity level and portions all determine which feed to choose for your rabbit. The issue is how do you know what your breed needs? If you are buying from a breeder, they should inform you what to look for in a feed for that specific breed as well as send you a small bag of feed to help transition your new rabbit over to what ever feed you decide to put him on.
A friend of mine forwarded me this in an email and I thought it was very interesting
Five Fun Facts about the Color Chestnut Agouti
By Ellyn Eddy
The study of coat color genetics has taken the rabbit world by a storm. Breeders remain extremely interested in this important subject. Not only do you need to know color genetics to be able to choose your breeding pairs wisely, but the study is fascinating in itself. Here five fun facts that you might not have heard before about an important rabbit color.
Fact 1. The color we call "chestnut agouti" is the original rabbit color. It shows the "normal" gene in every category. As you may notice, wild rabbits appear chestnut agouti.
Fact 2. Every other color results from a mutation of one of the genes that makes chestnut agouti. A mutation happens when some genetic information is lost in the process of transferring a gene from a parent to its offspring. As a result, almost all other colors are less dominant than chestnut agouti. If you breed a pure chestnut agouti to almost any other color, the resulting babies will be 100% chestnut agouti.
Fact 3. Chestnut agouti shows a beautiful blend of pigments. If you look at a chestnut, you'll see a brilliant blend of black and red pigments. The top of the rabbit looks brindled with the two colors, and if you blow into the coat, you'll see black and red/orange form concentric rings on the hair shaft. All recessive mutations of the chestnut genes limit this pattern, either by reducing the color intensity (so the black hairs would become blue or chocolate) or by preventing the two pigments from interacting properly. (For example, a solid black rabbit has the potential to produce red pigments, but it doesn't because the self pattern geneisn't giving the red pigment a place to show up.)
Fact 4. Chestnut shows the normal dominant gene in every main category. So a pure chestnut - one that didn't carry any other colors - would have the genotypeAA BB CC DD EE. A rabbit that had the most recessive gene in every category - the genotype aa bb cc dd ee - would be albino. Another highly recessive color is lilac tortoise - the genotype aa bb CC dd ee.
Fact 5. There are a couple mutations that produce a color pattern that's actually more dominant than AA BB CC DD EE. These are in the "E" series, and the names of them are Steel and Dominant Black. The steel gene will cause the black pigment to over-produce, so it covers up some of the orange pigment in a chestnut, and only lets the light tips of the hairs show. You can see that illustrated in the picture below.
With a rocky start to their life, my Lucky seven litter beat the odds and pulled through with an amazing mom/foster mom. For reasons we are unsure of, the moms milk dried up when they hit three weeks old. Losing two of the seven babies from internal damage caused by mom. Friday morning the remaining five babies (The Fab Five) were all listless and weak. Due to the horrible odds baby bunnies face when bottle fed I was not sure they would pull through. They can over eat and actually cause themselves internal issues if you let them over eat so I started with many small feedings throughout the day Friday to get them hydrated and full again. Slowly I started fazing out feedings and increasing the amount they got in them. By Monday night, they no longer needed my to feed them through the night (THANK GOODNESS). as of today, Tuesday, they will be on two feedings a day and by Friday, I hope to have them on their usual one feeding per day of milk like their mother would give to encourage them to start eating more solids and develop their digestive system. Rabbits are a very hands-off mother to begin with only feeding the babies twice daily for the first couple of weeks then moving to only once daily when they are old enough to come out of the nest box and nibble solids. They do not need to be spoiled and should not be treated like most other baby animals for this reason. Over feeding is the number one cause of death in hand raised baby bunnies. I fed many small feedings until they were going to the bathroom regularly and then started cutting back slowly due to the poor nature of their health. Even new born baby bunnies should not be fed more than 2 times a day (unless difficult circumstances such as the one my babies faced arise) then they should only be small feedings not full feedings to prevent over expansion of their tummy. My babies are not out of the woods yet at 3.5 weeks old and day 4 of bottle feeding, but with each day their odds increase greatly.
Yes, I breed quality, healthy and show quality, papered rabbits. That does not make me a bad person or mean that I am over populating or causing more unwanted rabbits in the shelters. Nor am I taking homes away from a shelter rabbit. First off, we do NOT have a shelter near me, nor do most people. Second, my rabbits are loved and if they are going as pets, placed in homes that I feel are good. This does not mean a shelter rabbit is losing out on a home. Yes, adopting from a shelter is good but for those who want a giant breed rabbit, even in a city that has a shelter for rabbits, it is hard to find one. The ones that don't go to homes as pets stay in the show circuit. Other responsible breeders who are making sure they are producing HEALTHY and quality rabbits to continue on the breed will get them. If everyone only rescued, many many breeds would die out.
I raise on a variety of different surfaces. Any with white feet are on wire bottom cages with a resting mat, not one has ever gotten sore hocks in my care on the proper gauged wire for the breed, and some are on solid bottoms with litter pans. The only rabbit I have EVER had get sore hocks had never been in a wire bottomed cage in her life. At three years old she had lived her life with me in a dog Kennel and a litter pan that was always clean and she developed sore hawks. After getting her in a wire bottomed cage, she finally cleared up. She is now back in a dog kennel until she has any other issues. Wire bottomed cages are not bad like people will lead you to think either, They keep them clean and out of their own filth, they give proper ventilation and so many more pro's than con's if used correctly. Plus, no one wants to see yellow footed rabbits, it just makes them look dirty and does not look good while showing.
A breeder has to keep their animals healthy for showing and, well, breeding. You can't show, breed or sell unhealthy animals nor do you want one in your barn. A breeder, not a back yard breeder who will produce mutts and focus sales towards holidays and gifts, cares about the breed, the standards and the well being of their animals. We give the females proper spacing between litters and do not over breed them. The stereotype breeders have is thanks to those who do not care.
I may be a breeder but at my place we rescue just as many if not more animals than we sell. I educate my community on why animals do not make good gifts, refuse to sell at any holiday or as gifts and I will take any animal I have sold or re homed back if it didn't work out for them. We take in rescue rabbits, cats and wildlife and we rehab them and find them new homes or release them in the case of wildlife. I have been an active member of rescues since I was a child with nearly every animal in my care having been a rescue. Yes, even some of my prize rabbits came from bad homes/breeders. The very rabbit this site is based off of, Milo, came from a horrible place. The people thought that it was OK to carry him by his ears, he was not fed enough for his size and he was scared and mean towards people due to it. I worked with him and he turned out to be an amazing member of my family and barn. Mailey, my very first French Lop came from a farm where she over powered them and she thought if she could them then she could anyone. She is now one of the best rabbits and trusted around the smallest of kids. No more attitude issues, nothing. I have stories like this for several other rabbits in my barn now but my point is not to tell stories of how they have been miss treated but to show that an animal does not have to come from a rescue to be rescued nor are all breeders bad. In fact most breeders I know, or at least the ones who care about the breed standards and are not raising animals as a profit but to improve and carry on the breed, refuse to sell as gifts or Easter and other holidays and have similar views as myself.
As a breeder and a person who's heart is animal welfare and rescue I can tell you that BREEDERS are not the bad ones in all of this, most of it is the uneducated people who are buying from pet stores, fairs and back yard breeders who are raising no particular breed or for standards and are breeding too close together so they can have more to sell as gifts or a novelty item not knowing that a rabbit can live well into its teens not just a couple months/years. They are a long term commitment and social animals. They need interaction not just to be in a cage in a child's room to be played with when remembered about.
If you are going to rescue, I applaud you! It takes a special person to take on the baggage most rescue animals carry from previous homes. But if you are going to purchase, please do so from a responsible breeder who has quality animals and purebreds. Someone who will answer your questions and be there to help you through any hurdles you encounter in your rabbit owning journey.
The Lucky Litter is three weeks old today <3 Sadly we lost another one of the babies yesterday but everyone else is looking great and they are getting nosey and exploring more and more now :) Couldn't have asked for better personalities in this bunch. So So So happy with them all. It is going to be very hard to part with these little ones for sure! But the fact that they have good homes lined up for them makes it all the better. They love the cat, the cat does not feel the same about them. They love to climb on me and they all love to snuggle in when they g
If you own a pregnant doe (a female rabbit), you will need to know how to take care of her before, during, and after her pregnancy. It's important to be aware of what is needed to ensure both her health and the safe delivery of her kits (babies).
Medium to large size rabbits are sexually mature at 4 to 4.5 months, while giant breeds are ready at 6 to 9 months. If your female rabbit is at this stage of maturity and you have reason to suspect that she has been breeding, then check for pregnancy as follows. A pregnancy can be detected between 10 to 14 days after mating, with 12 days being optimal; between these days, the fetuses will start to grow rapidly, causing them to be detectable by touch, and they will feel like the size of grapes. Be gentle when feeling for them! Be aware that false pregnancy is common in rabbits, so even if you find all the signs, you are probably best checking in with your vet as well. These are some of the other signs that your rabbit is pregnant:
It is possible that a doe with a smaller litter, four kits or less, will have a slightly longer pregnancy than a doe with a litter that is larger than four. The main concern is to know the start of the pregnancy (you may need your vet's help), as the time of birthing should not go beyond 32 days, in which case your doe needs to see the vet promptly. Without inducing labor after day 32, a litter of dead kits is likely by day 34.
Your doe will need special changes to her diet to ensure that she is getting adequate nutrition; a doe with nutritional deficiencies may abort or reabsorb the fetuses. Due to her carrying more weight, she will need extra nutrition to her eating habits. Provide her with high quality food along with fresh, clean unlimited amounts of water.
A nest box is where she will give birth and take care of her young. The nest box is essential because kits are born naked, blind, and deaf and have no ability to regulate their own temperature until day 7. Nest boxes can be purchased from pet stores, and should at least 4 inches (10cm) wider and longer than the doe. The nest box should be provided to your doe 26 days into her gestation period.
With a pregnant rabbit, the following problems can arise:
Some things to be aware of when your doe is giving birth include:
Make sure they are healthy, breathing and drinking their mother's milk. A litter can contain up to a dozen kits. Once born, the dam will nurse them, but not continuously. Provide her with continuous fresh water as it's vital for a nursing rabbit.
Kits will nurse at least until about 4 to 5 weeks, at which point they are weaned by the doe slowing down her milk production. Keep an eye on the doe's general health and the manner in which she interacts with her kits. If there is any aggressive behavior, remove the babies right away. Some things to bear in mind with new kits:
It is best to wait 35 to 42 days after the birth of the initial litter to rebreed her, to give her time to recuperate and care for her current litter.
most of this information was found at
http://www.wikihow.com How to Take Care of a Pregnant Rabbit.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the East Harlem explosion that happened early today and the two building collapses. As a woman marrying a Firefighter it scares me to think about this being a possibility for him to face. Prayers sent out to those who are brave enough to go in and rescue the ones in the building and for peace for all the families as well as all stay safe and unharmed.
The French Lop Rabbit Breed is a native of France developed in the 19th century by Mr. Cordonnier, a book binder. In 1853, Mr. Cordonnier started by breeding English Lops with some of the larger French breeds of the era, the Normand (also known as the Picard) and the Rouennais which is now extinct. This breed was originally developed as a meat producer not a show rabbit. Though it existed in France for many years, the French Lop was not recognized and given a standard until March 25, 1922.
It is thought that the French Lop was imported to American sometime during the early part of the 20th century because it was one of the first breeds recognized by the National Pet Stock Association (now known as the ARBA). The early standards were much the same as the English Lop, but with shorter ears.
Though shorter in body length, the French Lop has a shape similar to the Flemish Giant. When sitting erect, the ears of this breed should hang at least 1 1/2 inches below the jaw line. The ideal coat length for this rabbit is 1 1/4 inches with colors and markings conforming to the Lop Color Guide:
• The Agouti group in chestnut, chinchilla, lynx, or opal coloring
• The Broken group which is white combined with black and golden orange, white with lavender blue and golden fawn, white with chocolate and golden orange, or white with lilac and golden fawn
• The Self Shaded group, which consists of frosted pearl, sable, sable point, seal, smoke pearl, or tortoise (in blue, black, chocolate, or lilac)
• The Ticked group, which includes the silver / silver fox (in black, blue, brown or fawn), steel (black, silver, gold, chocolate, smoke pearl, blue, or lilac tipped steel)
• The Wide Band group, which includes the colors cream, fawn, orange, or red
Senior Bucks 8 months and older should weigh 10 1/2 pounds or more. Senior Does should weigh 11 pounds or more. Intermediate Bucks 6 to 8 months old should not be over 11 1/2 pounds and Intermediate Does should not be over 12 pounds. Junior Bucks and Does under 6 months old have a minimum weight of 5 1/4 pounds and maximum weight of 10 1/2 pounds.
Information found at http://www.examiner.com/
Proper nutrition is needed for good health & a long life for your rabbit. Rabbits need hay, a good high fiber pellet (free of nuts/seeds/dyed bits), fresh vegetables, and clean water. If your rabbit is allowed to go without food for too long, a serious condition called enteritis can occur. This is a shutdown of the intestinal tract caused by lack of food to digest.
Your rabbit should have a generous amount of hay available at all times. It’s nutritious and a vital source of fiber. You can make a big hay “nest” in the liter box and they’ll be a happy camper. This will also help potty train and minimize hay mess. Don’t worry – they won’t eat anything soiled. Commonly found hays are timothy, oat, oat/barley, and alfalfa. Alfalfa is good for growing buns up to one year of age, but is too high in calcium and fats for adults. You can often find fresher and cheaper hay at a feed and tack store that carries it by the bale. Ask if they sell it by the flake or in bags which are a good-sized part of a bale. Keep it cool and dry in a trash can or storage container stored where it won’t get wet or moldy. Never feed moldy hay to a rabbit, it can make them sick and/or cause death.
Avoid fiesta blend pellets containing corn/nuts/seeds/etc. These are similar to us eating nothing but junk foods. They lack the proper nutrients needed by your rabbit and over the years can cause serious health problems resulting in obesity, compromised organ function, and cause a shortened lifespan. (Be aware that some pet foods contain a preservative called ethoxyquin, (or BHT) which is a known cancer-causing agent.) A good pellet has a minimum fiber content of 25% and a maximum protein content of 14% (this is for the average sized pet rabbit, French Lops and the other Giant breeds require an 18% protein). Pellets should be fed in limited measured amounts daily, varying by the weight of your rabbit, it’s breed, or health issues (This is also for the average rabbit breeds, French Lops are free fed unless weight issues arise). Oxbow Brand makes an excellent pellet with formulas specialized by age. (Bunny Basics T for adults and Bunny Basics 15/23 for juveniles.) Two other widely used formulas are Purina Lab Rabbit and American Pet Diner. (APD also has 2 pellets: timothy and alfalfa). Brown’s brand is also an okay brand. I myself recommend the Purina 18% feed for the rabbits I sell locally.
Never introduce veggies before the age of 6 months. A daily serving of fresh veggies rounds out bunny’s nutritional needs. Always rinse produce before feeding, even if it’s organic. Start slowly, one small serving of one veggie at a time, adding more over a period of weeks. This will not only lessen the chances of loose stools from the introduction of fresh food to the diet, but will also tell you what your rabbit prefers and what might upset his tummy. Current guidelines suggest three different veggies per day, alternating combinations weekly to ensure a good coverage of vitamins. Carrots and fruits have higher sugar levels in them so feed sparingly (one carrot, a slice or two of banana/apple/etc.). Your local Farmer’s Market is a great source for rabbit veggies not just human. It’s fresh picked so it lasts longer, and it’s usually a fraction of grocery store prices. Apple seeds are poisonous to rabbits so always make sure you never give them the entire core. No Iceberg lettuce or any other light leaf lettuce, potato or potato peels, rhubarb, beans, corn or anything spoiled. Rabbits can not expel gas so anything that could give a human gas is off limits to rabbits. A good feeding rule is: if you wouldn't eat it, don’t feed it to your rabbit!
Always clean, always cool, always available. Use a heavy un-tippable crock or a water bottle – or both if you decide. Never allow your bun to drink water with algae in it. Check the sipper bottle each time you refill it to make sure it’s delivering. Also make sure to disinfect and wash bottles and dishes regularly.
Banana, Mango, Pineapple, Peach, Apple, Cherries, Kiwi, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Berries, Orange and other citrus and Papaya. avoid giving them seeds or pits as most are not good for rabbits. Pineapple, mango, and papaya all contain a natural enzyme called Papain which helps to break down andprevent hairballs. Remember, ALL FRUITS SHOULD BE GIVEN IN MODERATION.
Most treat foods sold for rabbits are largely sugars and fats and should be avoided. Yogurt drops, seed/nut bars, corncobs, wafer snacks etc. are garbage foods (rabbits should not be given lactose). Stick to dried fruits with none of the extra sugar or sulfites. Carefresh has a dried apple treat. Brown’s has a crunchy alfalfa heart-shaped biscuit. Remember, moderation is the key for any snack food.
To start with, Rabbits are classified as being small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, which are raised and kept all over the world. In the wild rabbits usually live in meadows, grasslands and forests. It has been estimated that more than half of the world’s current rabbit population lives on the North American continent. Rabbits are also found in Europe, Asia, South America and even a few parts of Africa. Several hundred years ago rabbits were brought to Australia where they have continued to multiply ever since.
Currently there are eight genera in the family classified as “rabbits”, which include the popular European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbits , and several others.
Rabbit Scientific Names: A female rabbit is called a “doe” and a male rabbit is refereed to as a “buck”. When a female rabbit gives birth (kindles) her babies are called “kits”.
For every show I bring a minimum of 9 rabbits. You usually can't just have rabbits and NOT groom them before a show if you want to impress the judges, SO, The week before usually consists of packing supplies-feed for the trip, water, treats, grooming items and so on- grooming them, getting carriers filled with fresh bedding, food containers installed for each as well as a water dish as you think of it all. THEN you usually get up very early or leave very late to get to the show on time the next morning so you get everything packed in the car and then at the last minute load the rabbits in their carriers and into the car and if all goes to plan you are on the road shortly after, usually it does not.
For all of the pet lovers out there I wanted to share this. Is the food you're feeding your pets REALLY as good as they say it is? These are not new facts for me as someone who has worked in the pet food industry but for those of you who don't know please take a brief moment to read this article for your pets health and well being
This is not my original information but found at
By Dr. Becker
According to a recent article in PetfoodIndustry.com, two huge players in the commercial pet food market, Procter & Gamble (IAMS, Eukanuba, Natura Pet Products) and Colgate-Palmolive (Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Prescription Diet), have faced declining sales in recent years.
It seems Mars (Royal Canin, Pedigree, Cesar, Nutro) and Nestle-Purina (Alpo, Mighty Dog, Dog Chow, Puppy Chow, Beneful, One, ProPlan, Canyon Creek Ranch) have locked up about half the less expensive end of the market, and small and medium-sized pet food producers are increasingly taking a bite out of the premium end once ruled by P&G and Colgate-Palmolive.
What’s interesting about this is that according to Colgate-Palmolive, it was able to begin reversing its downward trend in 2012 with the introduction of Hill’s “Ideal Balance” and “Prescription Diet Metabolic,” and the re-launch of Hill’s Science Diet with “natural” ingredients and improved taste.
Per PetfoodIndustry.com, Colgate-Palmolive “has reoriented its research and development and branding strategies, taking into account both changes in consumer preference and the positioning of its emerging rivals.”
In other words, this pet food manufacturer has studied changing trends in what consumers are looking for in pet food, as well as trends in how competitors promote their products, and has developed new marketing strategies (packaging, labeling, advertising) to reposition their products to be more attractive to consumers and more competitive in the marketplace. And it’s working. Pet owners are buying the hype (literally).
For the record, it’s important to keep in mind that repositioning a product isn’t the same as improving a product.
Both Colgate-Palmolive and P&G are trying to remain competitive as pet owners demand higher quality pet food ingredients, but they have approached the challenge in different ways. P&G purchased Natura (maker of Innova, Evo, California Natural) to try to tap into the growing “natural” pet food market, while Colgate-Palmolive reformulated and expanded their Hill’s brands.
What Does This Mean for You and Your Pet?So what does this mean for you if you purchase commercial pet food for your furry family member? It means you must educate yourself about the best nutrition for your pet so you won’t fall prey to the extremely clever and convincing ploys pet food companies use to make their products appealing.
What you ultimately choose to feed your dog or cat is up to you, but your decision should not be influenced by persuasive advertising or product packaging featuring buzzwords like “natural ingredients,” “organic ingredients,” “high in protein,” or “balanced nutrition.” The pet food you’re considering may indeed be good quality, but you need to determine that for yourself rather than depend on what the manufacturer says about the product.
As trends change, the big players in the pet food industry will pull out all the stops to market their products to attract consumers looking for healthier dietary options for their pets. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve improved the quality orspecies-appropriateness of their products – and that’s what you must keep in mind. Much more likely is that a tweak was made here or there to a formula, the packaging was updated, and a shiny new advertising campaign featuring beautiful images and irresistible buzzwords was designed to make you feel as though you’re doing the right thing for your pet when you buy the product.
The Best Nutrition for Dogs and CatsFiguring out the best diet for your dog or cat comes down to learning what foods are necessary for a carnivore to thrive, and which are unnecessary. Dogs and cats require quality protein from animal meat, fats, and a small amount of vegetables and fruits, which provide antioxidants and fiber to animals that no longer hunt whole prey.
They also need added natural sources of trace minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids, since the soils in which foods are grown today are depleted of many essential nutrients. Also, food storage, whether it’s in a freezer or a pantry, decreases critical essential fatty acid levels in foods.
Your dog or cat needs unadulterated, fresh, whole foods that are moisture dense.She doesn’t need grains, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, additives, miscellaneous chemicals, byproducts, or processed ingredients. Although your pet can eat some processed foods, she isn’t designed to consume a lifetime of dry or canned diets.
No processed food is “natural.” Whatever real food may have been included in the raw materials used to make prepared pet diets is no longer “natural,” and certainly not “organic” by the time it is processed and packaged. Processed food is designed to be storable for long periods and convenient to use. It isn’t designed to be whole, fresh and natural – and no amount of marketing spin or clever labeling should convince you otherwise.
After a rough start to two long awaited litters of French Lops, Lilly having 10 and her milk not coming in and sadly losing all but one baby and Oreo having 8 babies and losing two and fostering in the surviving baby with Oreo for it's survival, what I call the Lucky Seven litter is thriving. All Seven babies are doing amazing and healthy at two weeks old. It is always hard losing them but we are very blessed to have the seven remaining to keep us on our toes :) In hopes of expanding my lines I will be keeping back two of these sweet little munchkins to spoil and I can not wait until the weather warms up and they can play outside some! Hope y'all enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoy these little boogers, "Hoppy" Friday!
Every year thousands of rabbits are purchased for Easter gifts. Heavily marketed by the pet industry, baby bunnies are promoted as basket suffers for Easter morning, as the stereo typical Easter gift. Little thought is put into their needs, care and well-being. Pet stores are geared up for Easter. Backyard breeders are also ready for it by advertising rabbits for sale for Easter gifts. These animals have not had the benefit of healthy rearing, are often ill and many of them not handled regularly to make them suitable pets. Do not add to their suffering by supporting these stores and backyard breeders by purchasing their rabbits seen only as products.
Unfortunately, many people don't take time to find out about responsible rabbit care before they buy a "cute" bunny, and don't realize they are an animal that needs interaction, love and attention as well as a responsibility that has a life span of 8-10 years (sometimes more sometimes less). The result is an overwhelming number of abandoned rabbits, overcrowded shelters, and rescues without resources to manage a huge influx of rabbits which in my area there are no shelters that will take in rabbits. The rabbits sadly will most likely end up euthanize'd. Worse yet, some bunnies are simply dumped in the wild, left to fend for themselves. These rabbits have no way to care for themselves out doors in the wild. They are not wild animals nor do they know what to do.
To help in this matter, Milo & Me teams up with other local breeders and heads to our local Easter festival at the mall in town to help educate the people in WHY we don't sell our animals for Easter. We bring our sweetest tempered buns with us to meet/have their pictures taken with the kids so they still get their Easter bunny fix and when they ask if we have any for sale we explain to them why we won't sell. IF they are serious inquiries, they will take down your information and contact you another time to ask more questions and PLAN to bring home their new pet. There are some who just do not understand the reasons however and have gotten upset. We will take the bad with the good as the good far outweighs the bad. I do not breed around holidays or special occasions to help prevent this. I breed around the show season and warmer months as that is when I need them for shows and when they do best. Those on the list who want rabbits from me have to wait until my rabbits have babies on their schedule and when it is healthy for the mother rabbit to kindle and those who are serious have not had an issue in waiting for the right rabbit as far as now which makes me very lucky as well as ensuring my rabbits are going to a good home.
2 Years ago today, My very first French Lop baby was born. Max tragically passed away at only 6 months old to a back injury he sustained while doing his usual jumps in the kennel. This little man sparked my love of the breed even more than his mom and dad had. He is still missed dearly and always will be. There will never be another quite like him but he lives on in his brother Charly and his nieces and nephews.
The National FFA Organization gives young men and women a chance to develop their skills in agriculture while earning high school credit. Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization also offers leadership opportunities and competitions at local, state, and national levels. One of the projects you can earn FFA credit for is rabbit raising.
What is the difference between FFA and 4-H?4-H and FFA are very similar programs; the primary difference between them is simply that FFA is sponsored by a high school and 4-H is not. (4-H is governed by the national cooperative extension, often in partnership with state universities.) Not all high schools offer FFA (it's mostly available in rural and agricultural communities), whereas almost all counties in the United States offer a 4-H club of some type. Unlike FFA, 4-H is not restricted to agriculture, but also offers a variety of projects including homemaking, crafts, community service, and performing arts. 4-H may offer more shows throughout the year, or more contests such as rabbit showmanship. Therefore, there are many more members in 4-H than in FFA. But although involvement in 4-H can look good on scholarship and college applications, it won't actually earn you school credit like FFA will. The good news is that you can be a member in both FFA and 4-H at the same time, and many FFA students are also 4-H members.
What type of rabbits do you need to show in FFA?This totally depends on your project focus. If you intend to show your rabbits, you will probably need purebred stock. But if your goal is to provide food for your family and exhibit your success through your project record book, mixed breed rabbits might do well enough. The nice thing about FFA is that it is very structured, so you will have a teacher to answer your questions and make sure you start off right.
If you are raising rabbits for a meat pen project, breeds with "commercial" type work best. These aren't the largest rabbits that exist, but rather the breeds that mature at 10 to 12 pounds, have a quick rate of growth, and a medium-light bone structure. The Californian and New Zealand breeds are most popular, but other food choices include the American Chinchilla, Champagne d'Argent, and Satin.
If you want "fancy" rabbits for show, popular breeds include Dutch, Mini Rex, Holland Lop, and Polish. The size rabbit cage you should purchase will depend on the size of the rabbit breed that you choose. Your FFA rabbits should probably have pedigrees.
How many rabbits do you need to show in FFA?Your FFA rabbit project can be large or small; it depends on what your goals are and what your program leader requires. The important thing is that you keep your herd to a size you can manage. If you are trying to produce meat for your family, use the following numbers to help you decide how many does you should purchase:
One female rabbit of a Commercial breed can have about six litters per year and stay in good shape. Each litter will produce six to ten kits on average. Considering that not all kits survive, you can still expect to get at least six fryers out of each litter if your doe is a decent producer, more if she's a good one. Each kit needs ten weeks to grow to market size of five pounds. A five-pound fryer will dress out at about 55%, or around 2.5 pounds of meat. That means one litter of six kits will produce 15 pounds of meat in ten weeks. A litter of ten kits will produce 25 pounds of meat. If a doe has an average of 8 kits per litter and 6 kits per year, you're looking at about 120 pounds of meat per doe per year. Of course, it might take a little while for you to learn the ropes before your does produce as well as you want them to.
How many cages do you need to raise rabbits in FFA?Again, this depends on the scope of your project. But whether you are raising rabbits for "fancy" shows or for meat, you can usually achieve your goals with about 25 cages, or "holes." If you are raising rabbits for meat, you should have one buck for every eight to ten breeding does. (If you have ten or fewer does total, you may want two breeding bucks for genetic diversity, and as security in case something happens to one of them.) For every doe in production you should have three or four grow out cages for her litters, since you will want to grow some to fryer weight and others to maturity to use as replacement stock.
If you are raising rabbits for showing in FFA, you can be successful with 25 holes without being overwhelmed. It can be difficult for one person to care for more than 25 or 30 cages by themselves.
What equipment do you need to raise rabbits in FFA?First off, the cages. You should have use all-wire cages when raising rabbits for FFA. These are not only healthier for rabbits than solid-bottomed cages, but they are much easier to care for. In addition, a professional study was presented to the World Rabbit Science Association that shows rabbits prefer wire to solid-bottomed cages! You should use cages that can stack on top of one another, such as the Supreme Rabbit Homes, or use cage shelving units to preserve space.
Tip: If you prefer to build your own rabbit cages for FFA, you can buy welded wire, J-clips, and other supplies at PremiumRabbits.com
Next, the feeders. Metal J-feeders are typically preferred by FFA students, but others use crocks for food as well. Water bottles are also popular. One of the most important pieces of equipment you will need is a nest box. Each doe needs her own nest box to keep her kits safe. You can buy wood, wire, or metal nest boxes, but many people prefer metal nesting boxes that have removable wood floors. These are easy to sanitize between litters and won't harbor urine and bacteria like all-wood boxes will. They are less clunky and therefore easier to manage than all wood boxes. Steel rabbit nest boxes last for a very long time - the metal box will probably never wear out, and it's quick and easy to replace the wooden floor.
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